Remember the See ’n Say? Point the dial at a picture, pull the string and you’d hear, “The cow goes ‘Moo!’” That’s multimedia, only today, the training systems are a little more sophisticated. Pull the hyperlink on a multimedia training Web page, and you can make the defib go “pop”!

imageStamford University, biologists are using multimedia to develop a robotic fly. Biology 1 students at the Sidewell Friends School in Washington, D.C., are posting the results of their lab experiments on the Internet. Rice University’s virtual laboratory in statistics allows students to learn statistical methods by tinkering with data and studying the results of real case studies.

These are just a few examples of how multimedia has revolutionized education in the past few years. For biomed technicians, multimedia is becoming an important part of training and professional development.

While the term multimedia has become almost synonymous with computers and Internet programs, any application with sound and/or video can be called a multimedia program, according to the TechWeb Dictionary. This may include text, audio, graphics and video. Thus, the VCR and its modern cousin, the DVD, are an important part of multimedia technology.

Multimedia education is really nothing new. Back in the 1970s a number of colleges and universities began offering “telecourses” on public television and on video tape. Before that, teachers employed audio tapes, films and slides to help keep students’ attention.

“Multimedia has had a tremendous impact within education,” says Maureen Lloyd James, an Assistant Professor at Johnson & Wales University’s Florida campus, who is currently completing her doctorate dissertation on educational technology. “Because of new technology, the design of the classroom will soon be very different than what we currently have today. And changes in teaching methods are even now becoming apparent.”

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